The National Council of SAG-AFTRA voted unanimously today to recommend that members of the union authorize a strike prior to its upcoming negotiations on a new film and television contract.
“In anticipation of the union’s upcoming TV/theatrical contract negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, which begin June 7, the SAG-AFTRA National Council has unanimously agreed to recommend that its members vote on permission to strike,” the union said. In a statement posted on its website.
The federation added, “A positive vote does not mean that a strike will necessarily take place, but it will allow the National Council to summon one of them if it is deemed necessary during the negotiation process.” “This action follows unanimous agreement by the TV/Theatre Negotiating Committee that permission to strike would give the union maximum negotiating leverage as it enters this round of negotiations with AMPTP. SAG-AFTRA represents more than 160,000 entertainment and media professionals.” .
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“It was the greatest amount of solidarity I’ve seen in a long time,” said one of the board members after the meeting. To get 100% off this The board of directors to agree on something that shows we are united.”
SAG-AFTRA has not struck the film and television industry since SAG and AFTRA merged in 2012. Their last strike against the studios was in 1980—a 95-day strike that set contract terms for pay-TV and videocassettes.
SAG-AFTRA President Fran Drescher wrote today: “For the first time in a long time, our member leadership stands in solidarity on the negotiating committee and at the National Council level to advance the strike mandate. We must get all our ducks in a row if the need exists.” The prospect of striking is not the first option, but the last resort. As my father always says, “It is better to have and not need than to need and not to need!” Therefore, I appeal to the qualified members to follow the lead of both the Negotiating Committee and the National Council by showing unprecedented solidarity and making three Charm them with an affirmative “yes” vote to authorize the strike!”
Duncan Crabtree Ireland, the union’s national executive director and chief negotiator, said: “Permission to strike sends an important message throughout the negotiation process. A ‘yes’ vote gives the National Council the power to call a strike if AMPTP does not negotiate fairly at our next course. This will be a key negotiation that will determine the future of What it means to be a working performer We must be willing to fight to secure a meaningful deal for our members.”
In its statement, the union said: “Earning a living as a professional performer is becoming increasingly difficult as both inflation and the streaming ecosystem have undermined compensation – all the while, corporate profits and studio executive wages continue to rise. Add to that the unregulated use of artificial intelligence.” And the burdens of the industry-wide shift to self-tape, the perception of actors becomes unsustainable without transformative change.
“A successful vote on permission to strike does not result in a strike. Instead, a permission to strike allows the National Board to declare a strike if studios and broadcast companies fail to negotiate fairly with SAG-AFTRA in the interest of their members.”
Postcards will be sent to eligible members on May 18th with instructions on how to vote, and voting closes at 5pm PT on June 5th.
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The strike, if it comes to that, could come until midnight on June 30, when the current contract expires.
This news comes on the 16th day of the Writers’ Guild strike against AMPTP. Meanwhile, the Directors Guild began contract negotiations with AMPTP on May 10.
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